The Pittsburg High boys soccer team had the bell toll on Saturday night, and it answered the call in grand style.
In a matchup of teams in the top three in the Bay Area News Group East Bay rankings, the host Pirates made their claim for the No. 1 spot with a convincing 4-0 win over third-ranked Newark Memorial.
Pittsburg (13-1-1), which is ranked second, had the lion's share of the possession and showed the creativity that has every other North Coast Section Division I team on notice that it is an NCS title contender.
"We came out really intense and really focused tonight," Pittsburg coach Juan Penate said. "We were very aggressive and being aggressive right away was big for us."
Balance is one of the big reasons that the Pirates will be a threat in the playoffs. But even with all the balance, Esteban Berumen is the player that could make the difference, and he showed that on Saturday night.
Berumen had a hat trick, scoring the Pirates first two goals. The first in the 21st minute was on a beautiful volley, and then he scored seven minutes later after a great ball by Javier Valencia. Berumen got his third goal on a penalty kick just before the final whistle.
Pittsburg scored nine minutes into the second half to make the score 3-0 when Berumen let the ball run through to Jesus Torres in the box, who put it away.
Newark Memorial (12-3-2), in suffering its first loss to an NCS team, couldn't quite build up play as Pittsburg played with high intensity and pressure from the opening whistle.
Nonleague Pittsburg 4, Newark Memorial 0
Halftime: 2-0. Scoring: Berumen 21:00; Berumen (Valencia) 28:00; Torres (Berumen) 49:00; Berumen penalty kick 89:00. Saves: Lombana (NM) 5, Hernandez (P) 1. Records: Newark Memorial 12-3-2, Pittsburg 13-1-1.